Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sheer Desperation: Upcycled First Responder Shirt with Maximum Pocket Power

Perfectly Pocketed

Sometimes you entirely lose sight of reality while thrift shopping. This voluminous pale-green shirt caught my eye and I had to have it, despite the fact that it violated my cardinal clothing rule: pockets are absolutely mandatory. This shirt had none. In addition, the garment is so sheer as to render it useless for all practical purposes, particularly when worn by a 68-year-old woman.

Totally sheer

What to do? I decided to make this shirt work against its intrinsically frivolous nature by transforming it into a street-ready uniform as part of my ongoing First Responder series. An ancient Chinese first aid print, converted into an iron-on transfer image and then to a fabric patch, offers a handy first-aid manual for just about anything that could possibly break on the human body.

 I also used one of my go-to strategies for solving the pocket problem by adding cargo pockets. See Braving the Urban Frontier with Cargo Pockets for more creative uses for this common thrift store find.

Three simple tweaks.


The plan is to wear this upcycled shirt as a tunic over a black t-shirt and leggings. I figure I can pack enough supplies into the pockets to keep me going in the face of just about any urban disaster for a couple of days.

Onward (and always armed with a dark sense of humor)!


  1. I love the shirt and what you have done with it. Won't you list to port without more pockets on the other side?
    Love the iron-on patch. How do you make something iron-on from a piece of artwork?
    Vancouver Barbara

    1. Thanks Barbara. I like things asymmetrical and while I am adamantly pro-pocket, I have found you can lose stuff on your own body if you have too many of them. For iron on transfer, just buy a pack of transfer paper from any office supply store. You run it right through your printer, and then put the paper image fCe down and iron it onto fabric. Compose a full page of images on your computer so that you use/fill up the whole page. Flip all of the images horizontally -particularly important if there is any type or words involved. By the time you finish ironing,my out end up with a mirror image of whatever was on your computer page.

    2. Thanks for the iron-on info. What type of fabric did you iron it onto? Cotton? Poly?
      Vancouver Barbara

  2. so inspiring, hard to resist shirts made from beautiful fabrics, lovely to see them embellished and made useful as well as beautiful


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